Our culinary exploration commences with the birth of the shiitake mushroom ‘tortellini’ in a savory soy cream sauce, a dish that stemmed from a family conversation about employing wonton wrappers as a ravioli substitute – a popular concept that has been making rounds on food-focused online spaces and TV networks. My initial skepticism towards this trend was due to the belief that wonton wrappers, with their delicate nature, might not suit the robust character of traditional ravioli.
Wonton wrappers are not intended for a simple fold-and-boil technique. Their true charm is unleashed when they are formed into a shape reminiscent of tortellini—an effortless and classic method that amplifies the textural richness that goes amiss with a mere fold.
Bringing the Concept to Life
This revelation ignited the idea for this recipe: a hearty filling of mushrooms, ricotta, and scallions, ensconced in a wonton-tortellini hybrid, then swiftly cooked in a creamy soy-based sauce. The dish is topped with crunchy, toasty panko ‘pangritata’, a humble substitute for cheese, traditionally used by those who couldn’t afford the latter. The choice of panko breadcrumbs was deliberate—owing to their extraordinary crispness, and in keeping with the overarching Asian theme of this dish.
This unique mushroom tortellini dish was met with fervent appreciation from my father, which affirms its success and paves the way for future tortellini experiments. It leverages the well-loved trio of mushrooms, dairy, and soy sauce—a combination that has won hearts in our popular Soy Sauce Butter Pasta with Shrimp and Shiitakes. If you’re intrigued by fusion cuisine, this dish is a must-try!
Ingredients for your Exotic Shiitake Mushroom Faux-Tortellini:
- Olive oil for sautéing
- 6 oz. finely chopped fresh shiitake mushrooms (approximately 170g)
- 1/3 cup of finely cut scallions
- 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (approximately 50g)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (about 250g)
- 1 whole egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 36-42 wonton wrappers (one packet should suffice; use square wrappers)
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs (about 40g)
- 3 cloves of sliced garlic
- 2/3 cup milk (roughly 160 ml)
- ½ cup heavy cream (roughly 120 ml)
- 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce
- Start by heating a skillet on medium-high heat, and add some olive oil. Sauté the chopped shiitake mushrooms with a pinch of salt until they are tender and beautifully caramelized. Remember, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to caramelizing mushrooms!
- Once the mushrooms are ready, transfer them to a bowl and toss in the scallions, red pepper flakes, Parmesan, ricotta cheese, egg, and a touch of salt and pepper for seasoning.
- Assemble your faux-tortellini: moisten the edges of each wonton wrapper, place a dollop of the filling at the center, then fold into a triangle to seal the deal. 4. Ensure there are no air pockets and that the edges are tightly pressed together. Bring the two furthest corners of the triangle together to form a pseudo-tortellini shape. Repeat the process until all your filling is used up.
- As your tortellini are coming together, bring a pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, in another skillet over medium heat, pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil and the panko, stirring until golden. Remove the toasted panko and set it aside.
- Use the same skillet to cook the garlic in a bit more olive oil for about a minute. Next, pour in the milk and cream and let it simmer. After a couple of minutes, add both the regular and dark soy sauces and season with pepper.
- At this point, your water should be boiling. Cook your tortellini in this for about 20 seconds before scooping them out with a slotted spoon and transferring them to the simmering sauce for an additional 60-90 seconds.
- Your Shiitake Mushroom Faux-Tortellini is now ready to be served. Top it off with your golden panko pangritata and a sprinkle of fresh scallions for an unforgettable meal!
For those interested in deepening the flavors of this dish, you might consider deglazing the pan with a splash of white wine or sake after caramelizing the mushrooms. The alcohol will evaporate during cooking, leaving behind a complex, savory note that melds beautifully with the rest of the ingredients.
For a lighter version of this recipe, consider swapping out the heavy cream for a low-fat alternative or even a plant-based milk like unsweetened almond milk. It would provide a similar creamy texture but with fewer calories and saturated fats.
Lastly, remember that this recipe offers room for customization. Feel free to experiment with different types of mushrooms or add in other vegetables for added nutrition and flavor. Also, if you’re unable to find wonton wrappers, you could use thinly rolled fresh pasta dough as a substitute. It may not have the exact same texture, but it will certainly be delicious.